Monday, October 06, 2014


Overbearing, Petty, Easily Offended Gods

Plutarch, On Superstition 12 = Moralia 171 A-B (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt):
The ridiculous actions and emotions of superstition, its words and gestures, [B] magic charms and spells, rushing about and beating of drums, impure purifications and dirty sanctifications, barbarous and outlandish penances and mortifications at the shrines—all these give occasion to some to say that it were better there should be no gods at all than gods who accept with pleasure such forms of worship, and are so overbearing, so petty, and so easily offended.

ἀλλὰ τῆς δεισιδαιμονίας ἔργα καὶ πάθη καταγέλαστα, καὶ ῥήματα καὶ κινήματα [B] καὶ γοητεῖαι καὶ μαγεῖαι καὶ περιδρομαὶ καὶ τυμπανισμοὶ καὶ ἀκάθαρτοι μὲν καθαρμοὶ ῥυπαραὶ δ᾽ ἁγνεῖαι, βάρβαροι δὲ καὶ παράνομοι πρὸς ἱεροῖς κολασμοὶ καὶ προπηλακισμοί, ταῦτα δίδωσιν ἐνίοις λέγειν ὡς μὴ εἶναι θεοὺς ἄμεινον ἢ εἶναι, τοιαῦτα μὲν δεχομένους τοιούτοις δὲ χαίροντας, οὕτω δ᾽ ὑβριστάς, οὕτω δὲ μικρολόγους καὶ μικρολύπους.

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